Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Update, or, battling the perfectionist

So last week I finished the final painting for the book. And the next day, I wanted to burn them all. Ok, maybe not all of them, but there are a couple that I am not thrilled with. And it brings up the question of when to stop and when to keep going. Is my inner perfectionist coming our right now? Oh yes. So to appease her but limit how long I spend obsessing over this, I decided to allow myself to re-do the two paintings that I dislike the most.

So did that, and it's all good. Now on to the manuscript. I know there are a few stanzas that are not as strong as others. So how much time and effort do I put into re-working them, and how do I know when it is done? I don't know how authors do this. I am used to writing songs. They are short, and generally I don't re-work a song much. If it doesn't come together, I let it go and move on to another song. So much easier!

But here is the real question: When is it good enough? And it is no coincidence that this issue is coming up for me. You see, I set an intention at the beginning of this year of radical self acceptance. And it's funny how once you set the intention, the universe goes about testing that in every aspect of your life. 

We live in a culture that inundates us with messages of "Not Enough" daily. According to Dove, even our underarms need a little help! Everywhere you go there is an impossible standard of perfection being flaunted. And as women, we are really sensitive. This stuff gets under our skin. A few months ago I took Brene Brown's online course "The Gifts of Imperfection". The first assignment she gave us was to write "I'm imperfect, and I'm enough" on our hands and then take a selfie. Well that is an exercise in acceptance all by itself!

What I learned as I started to tune in was how often I judged myself, in every single aspect of my life. My appearance, my parenting, my purchasing, my creativity... the list went on and on. So here I am again, re-learning this lesson of acceptance. Reminding myself that I do not have to perfect, and neither does my work. I just have to be real.

So it's back to work for me, reminding myself along the way that kindness and compassion to self is the starting point, and the middle point, and the end point of this journey. I read a quote recently that to achieve success without happiness is the greatest failure of all. And I have enough experience with that to know that it is true. I want to enjoy this journey that I am on. So that's what I will do.

Love, kindness & gratitude,


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